Wireless charging pads can charge or sync your device. Now Apple has patented a smart pad that knows what you need based on how you place your device on it.
Granted Tuesday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, a patent named "Device orientation based docking functions," attempts to take the labor out of telling the charging pad just what you want it to do. Instead, the pad knows what to do based on how your device is oriented.
As described in the patent, you can place your device face up or face down, at a certain rotation, in a certain spot, or at a certain distance from another device. In turn, the pad automatically performs a particular function. For example, placing the device face down would tell the pad to charge it, while placing it face up would trigger the pad to charge your device, as well as sync its data with your computer.
You also could put more than one mobile device on the pad so that all of them are charged or synced at the same time. And Apple goes a step further by suggesting that the charging pad could be built into a laptop, allowing you to charge your devices on the fly.
As the patent describes it:
Systems and method are provided for selecting one or more docking functions based on a physical orientation of a user device coupled to a docking device. The docking device may include a surface upon which the user device may be placed. Docking functions such as charging, data transfer, data synchronization, diagnostic checking, or other functions may be selected, performed, or both, based on the physical orientation of the user device on the surface.